The Baltimore Ravens went into the offseason looking to upgrade their offensive line, yet despite this, they appear set for a downgrade at the center position. At least on paper.
Head coach John Harbaugh spoke to the media on Monday and revealed that the plan is for Patrick Mekari to be the team’s starting center in 2022. Harbaugh expressed that he was confident in the Ravens’ internal options and insisted that it was “unlikely” that they would sign a free-agent center.
The departure of Bradley Bozeman left a hole at the center position. Many assumed the Ravens would turn to the free-agent market or even the 2022 NFL Draft in search of his replacement.
However, it seems more and more likely that Mekari will be the team’s Week 1 starting center with Trystan Colon serving as the primary backup.
Expect Patrick Mekari to be the Ravens’ center in 2022
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of California prior to the 2019 season, Mekari has carved out a role as a versatile, do-it-all offensive lineman during his three years with the Ravens.
He has experience playing all five offensive line positions, although he’s seen the most playing time at center. Mekari was forced to start 12 games at right tackle in 2021 as a result of injuries.
To his credit, he more than held his own. The Ravens rewarded Mekari with a three-year, $15.35 million contract last winter as a direct result of his standout performances.
All of that being said, Mekari’s best role is probably as a high-end sixth offensive lineman who can fill in at all five spots on the line. That’s where he would provide the most value to the team.
The Ravens clearly see things differently, however. They view Mekari as a legitimate starting center and are even paying him significantly more than the departed Bradley Bozeman will be making in 2022.
It’s a contentious decision, one that has many fans scratching their heads. Nonetheless, there is still time to upgrade in the draft with Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum possibly in play in the first round.
If not, however, it’ll be Patrick Mekari’s time to shine this season. The Ravens seem intent on entrusting him with the starting job.